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Bukowski, Charles

tales written novels movie

(US, 1920–94)

Born in Germany, Bukowski was brought to Los Angeles as a small child. Equally prolific as a poet, he based his fiction on elaborating personal experience of the city's sleazy bars and rooming-houses, racetracks and blue-collar workplaces. Written for small magazines and underground newspapers, his anarchic tales were first collected as Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972), capturing the underside of American urban life with misanthropic humour. Bukowski's novels use simple expressive language and an episodic format, and often feature Henry Chinaski; Post Office (1971) and Factotum (1975) satirize bosses, bureaucracy, and the working process. Ham on Rye (1982) is possibly his best achievement, developing a clash of values between father and son during the Depression, as the surrounding society slides towards war. Hollywood (1989) fictionalizes Bukowski's experience as the screenwriter of the movie Barfly, and stands comparison with the funniest novels written about the movie industry.

  Henry Miller, Raymond Carver, Louis-Ferdinand Céline  JS

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